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Learn More About Nick

On July 1st, 2017, Kidznotes will welcome our new Executive Director, Nick Malinowski

Nick has spent his entire career engaging deeply and powerfully with students and communities, all the while building and expanding dynamic music and education programs that change lives. Nick assumed the post of Executive Director of the El Sistema inspired Kidznotes in July 2017, serving Raleigh and Durham, N.C.

In the beginning, he taught and learned from second graders as a Teach for America corps member in rural Arkansas. In a classroom overflowing with music and poetry, Nick’s students made incredible academic growth and were part of a cohort whose achievements brought about their school’s removal from state-imposed academic distress.

After completing his master’s of music degree, Nick accepted a position as music director at KIPP Delta Public Schools in Helena, AR, where he inherited a K-12 music program that consisted of a single choir of eight voices. Five years later, he directed three choirs serving over 120 students, and the KIPP Delta Music Program included a drumline, marching band, dance program, music theater program, elementary string program, and four full-time music faculty members. Nick also spearheaded the push by the entire district to implement arts-infused curricula, bringing music and the fine arts into every single K-12 classroom. Further, he created a “Blues in School” program (think Kidznotes on Delta Blues instruments), offering tuition-free lessons, master classes, and performance opportunities for local school-age children.

Nick stepped out of the classroom and into the nonprofit world as Community Programs Manager of Seattle Opera. During his tenure in Seattle, he frequently served as the public face of Seattle Opera, leading presentations, teaching classes, hosting performances, and directing workshops at civic clubs, donor events, schools, museums, libraries, and other community and arts organizations. Nick also coordinated the education and community engagement work related to the world premiere of “An American Dream,” an opera that tells the story of Japanese American forced removal and incarceration. Working hand-in-hand with community members, local museums and heritage organizations, and artistic staff, Nick produced an interactive front-of-house experience that immersed opera goers in the experience of Japanese American exclusion.

Most recently, Nick has led a high performing team as Program Director for Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that provides hands-on apprenticeship opportunities for students in Durham Public Schools. He has proudly forged relationships with national and local corporate partners, organizations, and individuals to close the opportunity gap for hundreds of students in the Triangle.

Nick graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College in 2004, where he was a 1,000-point scorer on the men’s basketball team, as well as the school’s only three-time Most Outstanding Vocalist Award winner. He holds a master’s of music degree in voice from Mannes School of Music in New York, where he specialized in the dramatic tenor repertoire of Wagner and Puccini.

Nick and his family make their home in Durham. He loves spending time with his wife and son, traveling, making and taking in music, and playing golf as often as possible.

Please join us in warmly welcoming Nick to the Kidznotes family, and please take every opportunity to greet him personally as you see him at rehearsals and events within the community.  He can be reached by email at, and you can read more about his transition to the Executive Director position on Nick’s Notes!

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